A third of the way through season four, the writers have picked up the pace after last week’s slog. The prison was starting to get a bit stuffy, both for our cast of characters and for us faithful viewers (even if I didn’t entirely realize it). In Sunday’s episode, on offer are a hefty glimpse of Bob Stookey, some movement outside the prison walls, and a number of big revelations that were back-burnered to make room for establishing the season’s themes.
In the opening sequence, Carol visits the sick block to see Lizzie, who doesn’t look terribly ill. When Lizzie says nobody’s died yet, she adds hopefully, “nobody’s gotten to come back yet.” As though resurrection as a zombie is a second chance. Carol has to reiterate that walkers aren’t people. “We don’t get to stay the same way as how we started,” she says softly, before coaching Lizzie about her knife and what to do if she’s in danger. When Lizzie accidentally calls Carol “Mom,” the older woman prickles. Sometimes we forget that we spent an entire season of this show searching for Carol’s real daughter, Sophia. (Okay, I might have forgot on purpose – season two was so boring.) I’m becoming more and more certain it’s Lizzie who’s feeding rats to the walkers. She thinks they’re pets, and said as much to Carl a few episodes ago. During this series of scenes, Rick bandages his hands, which are still raw from beating Tyreese. He wanders around the complex, collecting supplies and experiencing visions of Carol’s solution to the flu; he sees her murdering Karen and David.
Out in the real world, Tyreese, Daryl, Michonne, and Bob are trying to find a working car to get them back home. Tyreese, with his crazy eyes and violent demeanor, is in exactly the same place Rick was all of last season. As Willow would say, “BORED NOW.” In the books, Tyreese was a dynamic figure who tended toward violence but maintained an edgy interest – and the writers are once again tamping down the character’s motivations in order to continue a motif (they’re also doing this with Carl and the Governor, whose characters were far, far darker in the books). Read more